Today September 15, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011-W American Silver Eagle Uncirculated Coins. This product represents a collector version of the popular bullion coin.
The 2011- W Uncirculated Silver Eagles are struck on specially burnished blanks and carry the “W” mint mark. The bullion versions of the coin do not have a mint mark.
This release will represent the return of the product after a two year hiatus. The collectible uncirculated Silver Eagles had been canceled in 2009 (along with the proof version) and in 2010, as the US Mint struggled to meet demand for bullion coins. Under previous law, the Mint was required to produce Silver Eagle bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. Accordingly, they sourced all available silver planchets to the production of bullion coins and canceled cancel certain collector products.
With the passage of the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010 in December 2010, the Mint has more flexibility in producing collector versions of the American Gold and Silver Eagle, regardless of bullion demand.
The 2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagles are offered by the US Mint priced at $60.45 each, with no stated maximum mintage and without a household ordering limit.
The coins will also be included as part of the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set. The other coins included in the set are a proof with “W” mint mark, uncirculated with “S” mint mark, reverse proof with “P” mint mark, and a bullion coin. The US Mint previously indicated production of “up to 100,000” with a release date in late October.
Although I have no confirmation, it’s also possible that the 2011-W Unc Silver Eagle may be included in an Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set for this year. In January, the US Mint had released a pricing schedule for 2011 numismatic products that included this item priced at $49.95, which would no doubt need to be increased. If the format of the previous years is followed, the product would include uncirculated versions of the Presidential Dollars, Native American Dollar, and Silver Eagle.
When collectible uncirculated Silver Eagles were previously issued from 2006 to 2008, mintages were significantly lower than the bullion versions of the coin. The lowest mintage date carries a premium, while the other dates can often be purchased around the same price as the bullion coins.
The mintages for the W-mint marked Uncirculated Silver Eagles are shown below. For each year, the figures include the total from individual coin sales as well as the number of coins sold in other collector products. In 2006, the coins were included in the 20th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set and 20th Anniversary Gold and Silver Eagle Set. In 2007 and 2008, the coins were included in the Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set. I will also note that the 2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 variety had a mintage of 46,318, which is included in the total mintage for the date.